Missing diver’s equipment apparently ripped by shark

Search called off for missing diver

Victoria Police News

Wednesday, 11 July 2012 15:09

The search has been called off for a scuba diver missing off the coast of Port Lonsdale since Saturday.

Karen Lee, 42 , from Preston, was diving with a group on a chartered dive about 3 nautical miles off the Bellarine Peninsula on ‘The Coogee’, which lies outside the heads in an area known as ‘Ships Graveyard’ when she was reported missing about 3pm.

Search and Rescue called off the sea search last night.

State Emergency Service volunteers conducted a shoreline search this afternoon but nothing was located.

A camera located with dive equipment on Monday has been confirmed as belonging to Karen.

The dive equipment, also believed to be that of Karen’s, appears to have been damaged by a shark or other marine life.

Enquiries with the dive group have given no indication that there was a shark in the area at the time of her disappearance and subsequent searches failed to show any indication of shark activity near the dive site.

Police will now prepare a report for the coroner.

Karen’s family are grieving and request privacy at this sad and difficult time.  They would like to thank police Search and Rescue, Water Police, Airwing, SES and everyone else involved in the search.

Leonie Johnson
Media Officer

 Source: Victoria Police News Centre



  1. Angel

    That is very unfortunate.
    In very rare cases you find the equipment like this. It is like she had a diving trouble during decent. Her diving buddy did not see what went wrong. It is almost impossible to take the diving gear off without trashing it for a shark. So I doubt this was a shark attack. She may be taken by sharks and other marine life after drowning given she was missing for 4 days now. The marks on her gear may be because of it. Normally if she faces an attack during decent there will be excessive boubles and strugle, sound and some of the people on the boat and her diving buddy will see it.
    In either case it is very unfortunate. God Bless Karen.

    • bret

      how are you gonna doubt this was a shark attack when the equipt appears to have been damaged by a shark. im sure sharks take alot more people than we are aware of. that being said i dont believe its sharks fault. when you enter other animals worlds you may not be at the top of the food chain anymore

      • Angel

        I explained why I thought it was not a shark attack in the first message.
        Also altough I agree with you that there may be more people taken by sharks without our knowledge or anybodies knowledge at all, I do not think that it is anyones fault. The people who encountered with sharks and got hurt or lost their lives did not deserve this as well. We have to respect them. Some of them may be aware of the danger but beileve me they would all act differently if they knew a shark incident was going to happen. They just ignored it, like most of us did for several decades. There are a lot more people who gets killed in diving accidents every year than total shark attacks, not only the fatal ones.In general fatal shark attacks on divers are rare as well. Far less then swimmers and especially surfers. During a dive, most of the times you see them or your body sees them, or somebody else in the group sees them and you have more chances to protect your self if you think there is an immediate danger. The swimmers and the surfers does not have that chance. In either case, there is no one to blame, not the people or the sharks. I wish these attacks never happen, we find a way to deter the sharks without hurting them. Keeping people and the sharks safe at the same time. All the time…

      • Alyssa

        You can doubt that it was a shark attack because they have no actual proof. they have circumstantial evidence at best. They are other dangerous marine animals out there. If they knew for fact that it was a shark then they would have said it was a shark. However, they said that it could have likely been a shark or another marine animal. Any number of things could have happened to that poor woman but it is not fair nor accurate for the media to automatically jump up and say oh it was a shark it was a shark!! until they have actual hard evidence, the sharks are innocent. 

  2. Kathy C.

    I agree with you, Angel. Someone would have seen SOMETHING. The fact that her body has not surfaced tells me she met with some type of predator, most likely a shark. RIP indeed.

  3. Well this was a no brainer, I remember the first mention of this in the media, no mention of sharks at all but she was following close behind another diver as they went to the boat and then she wasn’t there, just disappeared. no rocket science required to figure that one out. Finally they mention shark damaged equipment but still non qualify that statement with (or other marine life)….yeah right what öther marine life might that be?

    • Angel

      Actually that is how most of the dive accidents happen. You see her there after a minute she is gone, you start a search, most of the time you find the body around the last seen area after a few hours or days depending on the bottom conditions.

      It is not that easy to say, “we found the body it is a diving accident, we could not find the body, it is shark attack.” If there is a body out there in the bottom of the sea and there are sharks around, it is a matter of time until they discover the body to scavenge. 4 Days to find her is a very long time to spend for her to be one piece in the ocean. Her gear with bite marks is very normal. The detail here is that the gear was intact. Meaning it was one piece and knuckled. Just like on a diver. Well that is very hard to do, even if you are a shark. You can hardly take the gear of yourself (actually you can not) when it is tight around you. That is why they are made, to hold on to you tight so it does not go off. You need to be in small pieces(very disturbing to say, I am very sorry) to be taken out of it. That it why, I said other marine life, rather than a single large shark. Maybe smaller sharks were part of scavenging but if it was one single large shark you normally find the equipment thorn apart, that is definitely not a shark mark on the equipment. as the police explained.

      I agree with Lana on the taste of human flesh. It is just what we tend to think. I doubt if they differentiate even the taste Like every animal in nature, they go for the easiest and most economical food there is. That is why we can easily say they are not mindless killers. If they were to attack humans because they are just easy food or catch, no human could enter in any sea, in any part of the world. That is not the case at all. Not today not thousands of years ago when the sharks were far more crowded in numbers comparing to today and far less people were using the sea. Even then shark attacks on humans were rare. If you read ancient tribes, you find very good references to this subject.

  4. Lana

    We often hear how sharks do not like the taste of human flesh, we have to much bone, not enough blubber and so on. If a shark eats human flesh dead or alive, weather it is a sharks natural instinct to keep the ocean clean or not. It is still Shark eats human flesh.

    Mr shark See’s live human and thinks a year ago when I was hungry I came across one of these things floating around it was a easy meal and filled me up. This one’s moving, but still appears to be injured, hay easy meal.

    I’m not saying rogue shark or anything, but we should keep track of scavenged bodies with a bit more detail than we do. Locations, time of year, activity of scavenged found bodies may start to give us a little more knowledge of understanding sharky activities.

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